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COVID-19: What happens when you’re infected?

Nick Nunes

COVID-19: What happens when you’re infected?

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We live in an unprecedented age of information. The ubiquity of information in the 21st Century also means that, not only can anyone access swathes of knowledge previously irksome to attain, but anyone can also gobble together believable fiction to become viral; pun intended.

Prevention is great. Social distancing and masking up are the best we can do and have worked wonders in diminishing the numbers of viruses that are less harmful but similarly transferred. Influenza cases are down worldwide, due to exceptional adherence to general hygiene, social distancing, and mask wearing.

Coronaviruses are a group of related ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses that cause respiratory infections. They can range from unnoticed to lethal. Some coronaviruses cause the common cold and others cause MERS, SARS, and COVID-19.

There is a lot of talk about asymptomatic infection. Sure, many experience little to no symptoms of the disease the virus induces. However, many infected can present as asymptomatic in the early stages of infection while the virus waits to rear itself.

As of mid-January, 92 million were infected and 1.9 million perished. That is not an accurate measure of its lethality as it is an ongoing pandemic.

For those infected, either due to a heavy viral load or pre-existing conditions that experience the worst on the docket of what this virus offers, the trial can begin with simple fatigue. Normal activities seem to be more strenuous but ignorable. The feeling of dehydration and general fatigue can appear without the typically thought of cough, fever, chest pain, etc. that are often extolled.

Healthy patients without pre-existing conditions have reported these symptoms lasting longer than they should. Within a week, other symptoms such as diarrhoea, dizziness, and dyspnoea (difficulty breathing) are reported.

A week of mild and manageable symptoms then quickly escalate and raise concern. This is where the fever arrives. Cold sweats, chills, and laboured breathing begin to stress the body. One of the most concerning symptoms to those who have been infected has been the onset of anosmia and dysgeusia – the loss of sense of smell and taste. This can happen at any stage of the disease.

In some cases, the lack of sense of smell and taste can be the first, most glaring signs of compromised health. Diminished appetite can also accompany these symptoms. At the onset of severe coughing and difficulty breathing, “multilobar opacities and bilateral minor pleural effusions” can develop, which suggests pneumonia, according to a paper published in Frontiers in Public Health.

The difficulty of this novel coronavirus is that the symptoms are wide-ranging and ununiformed. Fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or generalised body aches, headache, loss of smell and taste, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhoea have all been reported symptoms.

Circulated social media messages have made claims of stages and recommendations – these are false. Sitting in the sun, eating only hot food, and consuming alkaline foods have no veracity in combatting the virus or its effects.

This is primarily a respiratory disease. Any struggle with breathing, noticeable fatigue, or other symptoms mentioned above should be taken seriously – especially multiple, prolonged symptoms. This is still a relatively new virus with multiple strains and it is possible one can contract it again, even after recovery.

The long-term effects are still being guessed at and have already presented the potential to irrevocably damage the quality of life through lung tissue scarring, affecting the bone marrow, and exacerbating pre-existing conditions from diabetes to cardiac, and other issues.

This article is provided by the Better Health Magazine.

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